The Struggle for Europe

Discussion of current events
neverfail
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by neverfail » Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:11 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:42 am
After a pathetic attempt by the Scandinavians and the Dutch to give the impression that they mattered, the EU countries approved a very large programme of aid to the European countries most affected by the economic crisis following Covid 19, which breaks essential new ground. For the first time there was a mutualization of costs incurred by the weaker countries and grants instead of loans.
( :roll: My God, give me strength!)

Is that going to cure countries like Italy of their proven penchant for improvident policies, bad government? No, now that they know that they can get handouts from the EU more or less on demand I suggest that it will only encourage them to persist in their business as usual.

If Italy can get away with it do you believe that the other Latin and Hellenic "bums" basking in the Mediterranean sun are not going to take note and demand their cuts as well?

I do not believe that an organisation like the EU ought to be run along the lines of an international welfare state.

The European budget is bound to grow, and European taxes are on their way to become a reality. The first step was thus given on the way to a real political union in Europe, and to Europe's independence from the US. All of which would have been nearly impossible if the UK was still a member of the EU. We must thank the Brits for having thrown themselves out of the EU...
...... and condemned themselves to a bleak future at least in the short to medium term. Yes, had they opted to remain in the EU they would have been in a position to join forces with the Dutch, Scandinavians etc to veto that programme. But I suppose it does not matter in the long run. Since the EU seems to be determined to destroy itself by taxing the provident member states that are able to balance thier budgets while rewarding the improvident ones for their political and budgetary indiscipline then had the Brits remained in the EU they would have eventually gone down with the rest of them anyhow.

You know Sertorio: considering that it was the British who invented modern economics; I am appalled at the apparent widespread ignorance of this discipline that prevails among the inhabitants of the UK today - at all levels of society. Did they really believe that merely by departing the EU all of their problems would magically disappear afterwards?

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Sertorio
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by Sertorio » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:31 am

neverfail wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:11 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:42 am
After a pathetic attempt by the Scandinavians and the Dutch to give the impression that they mattered, the EU countries approved a very large programme of aid to the European countries most affected by the economic crisis following Covid 19, which breaks essential new ground. For the first time there was a mutualization of costs incurred by the weaker countries and grants instead of loans.
( :roll: My God, give me strength!)

Is that going to cure countries like Italy of their proven penchant for improvident policies, bad government? No, now that they know that they can get handouts from the EU more or less on demand I suggest that it will only encourage them to persist in their business as usual.

If Italy can get away with it do you believe that the other Latin and Hellenic "bums" basking in the Mediterranean sun are not going to take note and demand their cuts as well?

I do not believe that an organisation like the EU ought to be run along the lines of an international welfare state.

The European budget is bound to grow, and European taxes are on their way to become a reality. The first step was thus given on the way to a real political union in Europe, and to Europe's independence from the US. All of which would have been nearly impossible if the UK was still a member of the EU. We must thank the Brits for having thrown themselves out of the EU...
...... and condemned themselves to a bleak future at least in the short to medium term. Yes, had they opted to remain in the EU they would have been in a position to join forces with the Dutch, Scandinavians etc to veto that programme. But I suppose it does not matter in the long run. Since the EU seems to be determined to destroy itself by taxing the provident member states that are able to balance thier budgets while rewarding the improvident ones for their political and budgetary indiscipline then had the Brits remained in the EU they would have eventually gone down with the rest of them anyhow.

You know Sertorio: considering that it was the British who invented modern economics; I am appalled at the apparent widespread ignorance of this discipline that prevails among the inhabitants of the UK today - at all levels of society. Did they really believe that merely by departing the EU all of their problems would magically disappear afterwards?
Uniting Europe will result on the richer paying for the poorer. As it happens in Australia, the US or any other country. Trying to prevent that type of solidarity - based on preconceived ideas about the reason why the poorer are poorer - will make any political union of Europe impossible. The Covid crisis - and Brexit - have given us a golden opportunity to reverse that negative attitude and (hopefully) move forward towards an European Confederation. Because such a political union is vital to our survival. If we want to free ourselves from the American diktat and be able to live on an equal footing with Russia and China, we must unite. If we want to prosper, we must unite. If we want to have a positive influence on world affairs, we must unite. Union has, of course, a price, but the price is very low if we consider the advantages of being strong and free.

I very much like the present President of the European Commission - she actually surprised me by the positive - and I feel we have now a chance to do what we haven't been able to do in the last 60 years. The UK leaving the EU has helped too as we finally got rid of our Trojan horse...

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cassowary
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Re: The UK: the first rat to desert the sinking EU ship?

Post by cassowary » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:01 am

neverfail wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:13 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:51 pm

This agreement was only possible beause the UK no longer is a member of the EU. Had they still been in the EU and we can be sure that they would have blocked any such agreement. Without the support of the UK other sceptical European countries, such as the Netherlands and Austria, did not have the means to block this aid package. It may have been a first step towards an Europe more willing to reach some form of political union. Having freed Europe from the UK, now we need to free ourselves from the US...
Meantime Italy. already so heavily in debt as to be technically insolvent, having got away with soliciting a bail-out loan it is likely never to be able to repay has now set a precedent that will now doubt be followed by other EU debtor member states.

That sort of solidarity the more solvent northern EU member states, who will have to foot the bill for Italian (and other southern) debt default, is the sort of "solidarity" that these can do without.
Exactly. Soon other rich countries will want to leave.

In the end, Europe will be divided into two parts - the rich men’s club of the North and the club of bums from the South.

Sertorio’s idea of solidarity is that the virtuous must subsidise the sinful. The north became prosperous because their people were more hardworking, frugal and honest.
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Sertorio
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Re: The UK: the first rat to desert the sinking EU ship?

Post by Sertorio » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:07 am

cassowary wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:01 am
neverfail wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:13 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:51 pm

This agreement was only possible beause the UK no longer is a member of the EU. Had they still been in the EU and we can be sure that they would have blocked any such agreement. Without the support of the UK other sceptical European countries, such as the Netherlands and Austria, did not have the means to block this aid package. It may have been a first step towards an Europe more willing to reach some form of political union. Having freed Europe from the UK, now we need to free ourselves from the US...
Meantime Italy. already so heavily in debt as to be technically insolvent, having got away with soliciting a bail-out loan it is likely never to be able to repay has now set a precedent that will now doubt be followed by other EU debtor member states.

That sort of solidarity the more solvent northern EU member states, who will have to foot the bill for Italian (and other southern) debt default, is the sort of "solidarity" that these can do without.
Exactly. Soon other rich countries will want to leave.

In the end, Europe will be divided into two parts - the rich men’s club of the North and the club of bums from the South.
If you had read the post of mine preceding yours, you might have been able to make a more relevant comment. But I suppose for you other people's opinions are just nuisances...

neverfail
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by neverfail » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:19 pm

Sertorio; do you mean like this?
Sertorio wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:31 am

Uniting Europe will result on the richer paying for the poorer. As it happens in Australia, the US or any other country.
Agreed, within both the US and Australia (most other countries with a money based economy would likely be in the same boat) the balance of tax income to government and benefits payable means that broadly what you claim is correct. But that is '"within the family". How will the likes of the provident Germans, Scandanavians and Dutch feel about being taxed year after year, decade on dedade and generation after generation? I can imagine that would not relish it one little bit. Why should they?

Instead, if the southern countries wish to share in the fruits of unification then they should be compelled to heal themselves of their vices first or else go their own way. (In this regard I am of one mind with Cassowary though unlike him I do not regard them as "bums".) Most notably the palpably worse record of corruption and impropiety in public life that may even part-explain the higher per-capita public debt of these countries.

The EU officially holds to some lofty ideals. Among these is democracy, rule of law and respect for civil rights and freedoms. You can easily see that these have been adopted from the US constitution and that a "united, federal Europe has used the US template as the broad model for the structure of this united Europe. Unfortunately, political developments in at least two of the former Warsaw pact recent entrants, Poland and Hungary, demonsterate that the politics of some member states still kankers for an order more authoritarian and less democratic than the Aspired to European norm.

Even in Italy there are no shortage of Italians who, because their multi-party democracy has worked so badly ever since it began, hanker after its replacement by a political strongman (as long as he is honest, as Benito Mussilini was reputed to have been. With such a multiture of standards could European structural unity survive for long? I doubt it!

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cassowary
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by cassowary » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:37 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:31 am
neverfail wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:11 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:42 am
After a pathetic attempt by the Scandinavians and the Dutch to give the impression that they mattered, the EU countries approved a very large programme of aid to the European countries most affected by the economic crisis following Covid 19, which breaks essential new ground. For the first time there was a mutualization of costs incurred by the weaker countries and grants instead of loans.
( :roll: My God, give me strength!)

Is that going to cure countries like Italy of their proven penchant for improvident policies, bad government? No, now that they know that they can get handouts from the EU more or less on demand I suggest that it will only encourage them to persist in their business as usual.

If Italy can get away with it do you believe that the other Latin and Hellenic "bums" basking in the Mediterranean sun are not going to take note and demand their cuts as well?

I do not believe that an organisation like the EU ought to be run along the lines of an international welfare state.

The European budget is bound to grow, and European taxes are on their way to become a reality. The first step was thus given on the way to a real political union in Europe, and to Europe's independence from the US. All of which would have been nearly impossible if the UK was still a member of the EU. We must thank the Brits for having thrown themselves out of the EU...
...... and condemned themselves to a bleak future at least in the short to medium term. Yes, had they opted to remain in the EU they would have been in a position to join forces with the Dutch, Scandinavians etc to veto that programme. But I suppose it does not matter in the long run. Since the EU seems to be determined to destroy itself by taxing the provident member states that are able to balance thier budgets while rewarding the improvident ones for their political and budgetary indiscipline then had the Brits remained in the EU they would have eventually gone down with the rest of them anyhow.

You know Sertorio: considering that it was the British who invented modern economics; I am appalled at the apparent widespread ignorance of this discipline that prevails among the inhabitants of the UK today - at all levels of society. Did they really believe that merely by departing the EU all of their problems would magically disappear afterwards?
Uniting Europe will result on the richer paying for the poorer. As it happens in Australia, the US or any other country. Trying to prevent that type of solidarity - based on preconceived ideas about the reason why the poorer are poorer - will make any political union of Europe impossible. The Covid crisis - and Brexit - have given us a golden opportunity to reverse that negative attitude and (hopefully) move forward towards an European Confederation. Because such a political union is vital to our survival. If we want to free ourselves from the American diktat and be able to live on an equal footing with Russia and China, we must unite. If we want to prosper, we must unite. If we want to have a positive influence on world affairs, we must unite. Union has, of course, a price, but the price is very low if we consider the advantages of being strong and free.

I very much like the present President of the European Commission - she actually surprised me by the positive - and I feel we have now a chance to do what we haven't been able to do in the last 60 years. The UK leaving the EU has helped too as we finally got rid of our Trojan horse...
A lot of blather, Sertorio. Nothing concrete. Why the South is poorer? Well, for one reason, there is more corruption. Your politicians are in it for the money and not to serve the people.

So they carry out policies to gain and maintain their power instead of policies that benefit their people in the long run. Reckless spending is a good example. The attitude is: "Who cares if the country goes bust so long as I get elected. I want power so that I can get rich from bribes."

(Of course, its all relative. While I like to tease you by calling South Europeans, "bums", you guys are not so bad as compared to say Malaysia and all African states. There is corruption in all countries, including the most honest ones. But it is relatively less. )

Maybe it is because I grew up in a missionary school. But i firmly believe that virtues lead to prosperity and success. So I think the North is more wealthy because the people there are more virtuous - more honest, frugal and hardworking. Expecting the more virtuous to subsidise the more sinful somehow grates on my sensibilities.

I know you Marxists have a different way of thinking. You think that wealth is gained through exploitation. So the rich countries or citizens of a country must subsidize the poorer countries or citizens. It won't work.
The Imp :D

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cassowary
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by cassowary » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:42 pm

neverfail wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:11 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:42 am
After a pathetic attempt by the Scandinavians and the Dutch to give the impression that they mattered, the EU countries approved a very large programme of aid to the European countries most affected by the economic crisis following Covid 19, which breaks essential new ground. For the first time there was a mutualization of costs incurred by the weaker countries and grants instead of loans.
( :roll: My God, give me strength!)

Is that going to cure countries like Italy of their proven penchant for improvident policies, bad government? No, now that they know that they can get handouts from the EU more or less on demand I suggest that it will only encourage them to persist in their business as usual.

If Italy can get away with it do you believe that the other Latin and Hellenic "bums" basking in the Mediterranean sun are not going to take note and demand their cuts as well?

I do not believe that an organisation like the EU ought to be run along the lines of an international welfare state.
Bravo! Clap, clap, clap. Very wise words.
The Imp :D

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Sertorio
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by Sertorio » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:50 am

neverfail wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:19 pm
Sertorio; do you mean like this?
Sertorio wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:31 am

Uniting Europe will result on the richer paying for the poorer. As it happens in Australia, the US or any other country.
Agreed, within both the US and Australia (most other countries with a money based economy would likely be in the same boat) the balance of tax income to government and benefits payable means that broadly what you claim is correct. But that is '"within the family". How will the likes of the provident Germans, Scandanavians and Dutch feel about being taxed year after year, decade on dedade and generation after generation? I can imagine that would not relish it one little bit. Why should they?
"Within the family", which requires the existence of a feeling of identity. I agree. But I also feel that we are coming, slowly but surely, to have that feeling of identity in Europe. And, curiously enough, I think Americans are doing a lot to help us following that path. The more aggressive they are in respect of Europe, the more sanctions they pile on us, the more they want to force us following their policies, the more we will realize that compared with the Americans we, Europeans, are a lot more alike than we used to think. That's why we no longer see, for instance, Ursula von der Leyen as a German, but simply as the President of the European Commission, "our" President of the Commission, who makes a point of speaking English, in order to be as neutral as possible. It will take some time yet, but we will get there, at least as far as the majority of Europeans are concerned. There will always be idiots who refer to the "PIGS" and who think that Southern Europeans only care about wine and women, but soon they will not be able to influence European policies.
neverfail wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:19 pm
Instead, if the southern countries wish to share in the fruits of unification then they should be compelled to heal themselves of their vices first or else go their own way. (In this regard I am of one mind with Cassowary though unlike him I do not regard them as "bums".) Most notably the palpably worse record of corruption and impropiety in public life that may even part-explain the higher per-capita public debt of these countries.
It's funny how you take your misconceptions for realities. Let me use Portugal as an example.

We have corruption in Portugal, but no more than any Northern European country. We have former ministers and secretaries in jail, for corruption, we are trying other ministers, and even a former prime-minister for corruption, we are trying one of our former bankers for a number of economic crimes. No longer is there a sense of impunity among those type of people in my country. And if our economic performance has been worse than that of Northern Europeans, it isn't because of corruption or because we are "bums". We work more hours and have less holidays than Germans, for instance. Our economic shortcomings are due to an history of underinvestment. We haven't been able to reach yet the level of state of the art technology in many industries, and the stock of capital per worker is still lower than it should be. Workers and managers are now more skilled, but there is room for improvement. Mostly in the smaller firms. But we have been able to balance our foreign trade in goods and services, and we had a small budget surplus in 2019. At the same time our public services have greatly improved, although our judiciary is still not capable of making decisions within reasonable time. And we have one of the lowest crime rates in the whole of Europe, with Portuguese being considered one of the most tolerant peoples in the whole world. If we get a small help from Europe, in the framework of a politically more united Europe, we will be as productive and competitive as any country in Europe.
neverfail wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:19 pm
The EU officially holds to some lofty ideals. Among these is democracy, rule of law and respect for civil rights and freedoms. You can easily see that these have been adopted from the US constitution and that a "united, federal Europe has used the US template as the broad model for the structure of this united Europe. Unfortunately, political developments in at least two of the former Warsaw pact recent entrants, Poland and Hungary, demonsterate that the politics of some member states still kankers for an order more authoritarian and less democratic than the Aspired to European norm.

Even in Italy there are no shortage of Italians who, because their multi-party democracy has worked so badly ever since it began, hanker after its replacement by a political strongman (as long as he is honest, as Benito Mussilini was reputed to have been. With such a multiture of standards could European structural unity survive for long? I doubt it!
Democracy and human rights were known in Europe much before they were applied in the USA. And the American federal model is definitely not what we need. In view of the differences existing in Europe, we must use a confederal model for our political union, which will be able to accommodate those differences, even those which some of us may find less palatable.

You should come again to Europe - and I don't mean the UK - and see for yourself how things are moving. Maybe then you will be able to talk about Europe in a more objective manner.

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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by neverfail » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:19 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:50 am


It's funny how you take your misconceptions for realities. Let me use Portugal as an example.

We have corruption in Portugal, but no more than any Northern European country. We have former ministers and secretaries in jail, for corruption, we are trying other ministers, and even a former prime-minister for corruption, we are trying one of our former bankers for a number of economic crimes. No longer is there a sense of impunity among those type of people in my country. And if our economic performance has been worse than that of Northern Europeans, it isn't because of corruption or because we are "bums". We work more hours and have less holidays than Germans, for instance. Our economic shortcomings are due to an history of underinvestment. We haven't been able to reach yet the level of state of the art technology in many industries, and the stock of capital per worker is still lower than it should be. Workers and managers are now more skilled, but there is room for improvement. Mostly in the smaller firms. But we have been able to balance our foreign trade in goods and services, and we had a small budget surplus in 2019. At the same time our public services have greatly improved, although our judiciary is still not capable of making decisions within reasonable time. And we have one of the lowest crime rates in the whole of Europe, with Portuguese being considered one of the most tolerant peoples in the whole world. If we get a small help from Europe, in the framework of a politically more united Europe, we will be as productive and competitive as any country in Europe.
Singling out Portugal as an example that applies to all of the southern countries just won't wash, Sertorio. Portugal is something of a standout. It is not Greece; definitely not Italy and not even Spain next door.

Portugal's level of corruption and impropiety in public life is about level with countries like France and the UK; meaning it could do better but nevertheless not too bad.

To give Portugal its due: Spain next door has northern regions who all speak first languages that are NOT Castillian (known to foreigners like me as Spanish) who want to seceed from Spain into sepetrate soverignties. Italy is riven constantly by inter-regional rivalries that warp its politics. The Portuguise have neither of these banes. They come across as a rather linguistically and culturally homogenous bunch with a resultant tradition of national unity and community solidarity. Never underestimate the value of that. It means that Portugal functions better as a Nation-state.

The main thing Portugal seems to have going against it is a high pe-capita of national debt. As long as that persists and the perception of a shaky fiscal posture remains Portugal is unlikely to attract the capital investment from abroad that will upgrade your country's internastional competitiveness.

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Sertorio
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by Sertorio » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:13 am

German & French arms producers want to reduce use of US technologies in military production
2 Aug, 2020 13:43

France and Germany want to cut their technological dependence on the US – a NATO ally – and rely more on their own products when it comes to manufacturing military equipment, according to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Military producers in Germany and France are reportedly attempting to phase out US technologies in helicopter construction, making a new assault rifle for the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), as well as a new fighter jet developed under the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program, led by the two nations’ planemakers.

The protection of sensitive data is one of the reasons behind the push to gain more independence from the US in military production, the German outlet reported. Moreover, the companies are concerned that Washington maintains control over any equipment using its technology under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and can therefore block arms exports.

“Without ITAR and other US regulatory systems, Europe gets more freedom in who to supply with military products,” said Florent Chauvancy, sales director of the Helicopter Engines Department of French manufacturer Safran, as cited by the publication.

One of the advantages of 100 percent European-made products is that these enterprises’ data remains in Europe and does not fall into the hands of non-European countries.

According to the report, Safran wants to partner with German manufacturer ZF Friedrichshafen to develop a new drive which could be installed in a large military drone. However, it is currently unclear whether the European military’s bid to completely avoid US technology is a realistic one.

The news comes shortly after the US announced the withdrawal of roughly 12,000 US troops from Germany, as US President Donald Trump repeatedly accused Europe – and Berlin in particular – of failing to pay its share of NATO's defense costs. At the same time, the president said he doesn’t want to “protect” Germany, as it pays “billions of dollars” for imports of energy from Russia.

The US has been vocally opposing closer cooperation between Russia and Germany on energy, including the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline along the Baltic Sea, while trying to boost its liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments to Europe. While last year Washington only managed to halt the project, it has recently stepped up pressure on investors and all European firms involved in it.

“It’s a clear warning to companies that aiding and abetting Russian malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month, in a clear warning to the parties involved with the project.

https://www.rt.com/business/496898-fran ... nology-us/
A step in the right direction.

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